Devy Team Review: Ohio State Buckeyes

Bruce Matson

Ohio State is one of the top college football programs in the nation. Every year they manage to churn out top-flight prospects on both sides of the ball. It feels like the draft is always stacked with Buckeyes from top to bottom.

If anything, the Buckeyes might be entering the 2020 season with more devy talent than usual which is a tough comment to make considering how excellent the program has been over the last several years. This is a team with solid depth for the long term at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and even tight end.

QUARTERBACK

Justin Fields

For most people, Fields is either ranked as the devy QB1 or right behind Trevor Lawrence. He has made some big-time throws at Ohio State. If everything goes according to plan this year, Fields should finish his junior season as a first-round caliber prospect.

During his first year at Ohio State, Field passed for 3,273 yards and 41 touchdowns while also rushing for 484 yards and ten touchdowns. He earned a 131 passer rating with a 75.9 adjusted completion percentage. He had three games with over 300 yards passing and 13 multi-touchdown games.

The clip posted above is possibly one of the all-time greatest plays in Ohio State’s history. Fields previously endured a knee injury that took the wind away from the Ohio State fans to come back a few moments later to toss a dart in the end zone for the score, showcasing his mobility and his arm strength.

Fields has good size and mobility. Combine those attributes with his ability to sling the rock while on the run and you have one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the nation. He’s a top-shelf prospect who make can convert passes all over the field. Not only is he mobile, but he’s a threat to take it to the house every time he decides to take off with the football.

He is worth the high price tag in devy. Odds are good that he will be one of the first players selected in next year’s draft. His rushing attributes will elevate his floor in fantasy and make him a safer investment. There are not many flaws in his game and it’s going to be fun seeing how he develops during the 2020 season.

CJ Stroud

Stroud is next in line to take over as the team’s starting quarterback. He’s a four-star prospect in the 2020 recruiting class. There’s a lot to like about this kid. The most important thing to note is that he’s going to grow with a very talented wide receiver depth chart which will elevate his performance on a weekly basis.

Ohio State’s offense will be in good hands with Stroud under center. He tosses nice crisp passes and can throw lasers when needed. When under pressure, Stroud has the mobility to roll out and hit passes while on the run. There shouldn’t be much of drop off from Fields to Stroud. We should see him gel well with Ohio State’s young talented wide receiver corps.

Stroud is a safe investment in devy because once Fields leaves for the NFL, his stock should instantly increase. The offense should elevate his production and his wide receivers will make him look good. Not to mention he’s a very talented quarterback prospect. Buy Stroud now while his priced at a discount.

RUNNING BACK

Trey Sermon

This is going to be a make or break year for Trey Sermon. He was a graduate transfer from Oklahoma. In three seasons with the Sooners, he rushed for 2,076 yards and 22 touchdowns. He missed a large portion of his 2019 season with a knee injury. The year prior he was able to rush for 947 yards and 13 touchdowns while owning a 14.62 percent dominator rating. He also forced 60 missed tackles that season.

The Buckeyes might not miss a beat with Sermon in the backfield. He runs with excellent vision in the open field combined with some wiggle and the willingness to through a defender’s face at the point of contact. He only has 36 catches on his career, but he is slippery with the ball out of the flat. Even though he looks good on film, he lacks the home-run-hitting speed to make him an elite-level running back prospect. Injuries derailed his career and prevented him from reaching his true potential.

It’s all or nothing for Sermon. He will either blow up with the Buckeyes or he’s more than likely going to fade into the darkness. There’s no in-between. He missed a large portion of his junior season, making him currently out of sight and out of mind when it comes to his draft stock. With COVID-19 transforming the landscape in college football, a big season from Sermon could earn him a spot as one of the most sought after running back prospects in this class.

Sermon is a pump and dump stock. His floor is more like a black hole. If he falls down it, then there’s no chance he recovers his dynasty/devy value. On the flip side, if he hits with Ohio State then we could see a massive bump in his stock during draft season.

Master Teague

Teague was the incumbent starter until he suffered an Achilles injury. We don’t know the severity of the injury, and no one is fully certain whether or not he will play a down this season. As of right now, he is currently the most talented running back on the roster.

When he gets the ball in open space, Teague transforms into a ball of knives fueled with Bang Energy Drinks and gasoline. Contact is a blessing for the young running back. His aggressive mantra makes him tough to tackle in the open field. Although he does not possess elite-level speed, he’s fast enough to make the defense pay if he can get the corner or find an open lane that leads to the second level.

Teague has the prototypical size to become a three-down workhorse at the next level. We need to see how he handles a large workload before we can truly dive all-in on him. If he can take ownership of a large portion of the receiving duties out of the backfield then it will be wheels up for his draft stock going forward.

He’s a workout warrior and self-development is one of his main motivators. Recently, he was named to the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List which is an award that celebrates a college football player who generates a positive impact in society. Teague has been hard at work and is ahead of schedule on his recovery from his recent Achilles injury. He’s doing everything in his own power to be healthy for the 2020 season.

The injury plummeted his devy stock. Before he was trending to be a high-end devy startup pick, now you can easily catch him around the fourth and fifth rounds of devy drafts. According to DLF Devy ADP, he’s being selected on average as the 23rd running back off the board. I feel the injury created a massive buying opportunity as he’s now being valued around half the price of what he was being valued six months ago. The Ohio State offense packs a lot of gusto and will always bolster the team’s starting running back.

Obviously, Teague has some risk. If there are setbacks from the injury or if he can’t fully return to his old form, then he won’t hit his upside. He’s still awfully young and has a good chance of regaining his role as a key feature to Ohio State run game. We just can’t ignore the potential downside and believe everything will be sunshine and rainbows.

WIDE RECEIVER

Chris Olave

After a 2019 season where he caught 48 passes for 840 yards and 12 touchdowns while owning a 22.80 percent market share of the passing offense, Olave is set to be the team’s alpha receiver. KJ Hill, Binjimen Victor, and Austin Mack left for the NFL, leaving 166 vacated targets. We should see Olave command a larger share of the targets and push for over 1,000 yards receiving this year.

There’s a lot to get excited about when we analyze Olave. He’s a stout route runner and he has enough speed to get behind the defense. His hands are solid and he always appears to be open in clutch situations. With 3.38 yards per route run and a 137.7 passer rating when targeted per PFF, Olave was actually one of the most efficient wide receivers in the nation last year.

If you’re looking for an upside wide receiver at a discount, then you might want to target Olave in drafts. DLF’s Devy ADP has him as the 17th wide receiver off the board which him usually being selected around the early third-round of devy drafts. This is a very fair price point, considering the lack of counting stats during the first two years of his career. However, the upside is unlimited and we could see him get selected easily in the top-100 in next year’s draft if he can take over as the primary pass-catcher for the Ohio State offense.

Garrett Wilson

Wilson is the future. The former five-star recruit is the most talented receiver on the roster. With strong hands and tremendous ball skills, Wilson will look to put on a show during his sophomore season. Everyone is expecting big things from him considering he made a lot of big plays last year.

Wilson has all the intangibles to develop into one of the top talents in college football. I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a first-round devy pick this time next year. He is very aggressive at the catch-point and has very strong hands. The trait that sticks out the most about Wilson is his my-ball mentality, he will do whatever it takes to box-out the defender and make the catch. His leaping ability allows him to climb the latter to grab balls that are usually out of reach for most wide receivers.

Olave is pegged as the top target in the offense for this season but I wouldn’t put it past Wilson to push for the lead-dog spot in the offense. It’s not outside the realm of possibilities that he leads the team in receiving. He’s currently the most talented receiving option in the offense and will take over as a key focal point of the offense if he takes a step forward in his development.

Once this season is over and the upperclassmen leave for the draft, Wilson garnered as one of the top wide receivers in devy. Unless he completely falls on his face or endures a major injury, he will almost be a lock to be a top ten prospect in devy.

Julian Fleming

Fleming is one of Ohio State’s prized recruits form this year’s class. 247Sports ranked him as the top wide receiver in this year’s recruiting class. The five-star recruit will compete for meaningful snaps early in his career. If he quickly transitions to the college game, then he could develop into a surprise breakout candidate this season.

Fleming has a good blend of size, speed, strength, and leaping ability. He’s very physical and has the ball skills to excel at the college level. He should make an impact early in his career and be a riser in both devy and dynast formats. Even though it’s not likely, don’t be surprised if he becomes the top wide receiver on the roster by the end of the 2020 season.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Ohio State was lucky to snag Smith-Njigba who was another five-star receiving prospect. He is already a very good route runner with tremendous short-area quickness. The Buckeyes will be looking to utilize him as soon as possible. As a devy prospect, Smith-Njigba has as much upside as any prospect on Ohio State’s roster.

Personally, I feel like he’s a value in devy leagues compared to his teammate Fleming. Both players are five-star recruits on the Buckeyes’ roster, but Smith-Njigba is being selected a round later than Fleming, making him the cheaper target. He has the potential of developing into one of the top wide receivers in the nation while also having the potential of usurping the rest of the wide receiver on Ohio State’s depth chart.

Gee Scott Jr. and Mookie Cooper

Ohio State also landed a pair of four-star wide receiver prospects who are also worth noting. Gee Scott is a solid route runner who is very aggressive at the catch point. Mookie Cooper is projected to be the team’s speedy slot receiver. He has a thick lower body and is very assertive after the catch. Both players are projected to be key contributors to Ohio State’s offense over the next couple of years.

TIGHT END

Jeremy Ruckert

Ruckert is a versatile prospect who can make his money as an in-line blocker and running routes as a receiver. He moves very well for his size and is trending to become a major asset in the passing game. Ruckert has a lot of promise. He’s a player to monitor in devy considering there’s a good chance he will increase his receiving skills over time.

bruce matson
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